54 (1998)

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Released 22-Oct-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Music Video-If You Could Read My Mind-Stars On 54
Theatrical Trailer-1.78:1 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 96:25 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christopher. Mark

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ryan Phillippe
Salma Hayek
Mike Myers
Neve Campbell
Case Village Roadshow New Style
RPI $24.95 Music Marco Beltrami

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English MPEG 2.0 silent (64Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    IN SHORT: Crash 'n' burn.

    54 is the based-on-true-life story of the famous Studio 54 disco in New York City. Run by Steve Rubell (Mike Myers), the story is told through the eyes of Shane O'Shea (Ryan Philip), an ambitious young man from New Jersey with the right "look" to get into Studio 54. Shane gets a job at Studio 54, initially as a bus boy, where he meets Anita (Salma Hayek), a wanna-be singer. The story traces the rise and fall of Studio 54 and its characters including Steve, Shane and Anita.

    Sex, drugs and rock and roll - it's all here in abundance. What is also here is pathos and a sense of an unstoppable rush to self-immolation for all of the characters. Mike Myers in an unusually serious role for him absolutely steals the picture - his portrayal of Steve Rubell is superb. I really enjoyed this movie.

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Transfer Quality


    Please note that this review was completed using two separate DVD players - my usual Pioneer DV-505 model and a Noriko DVD-390K, for reasons which will become apparent.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is clear and sharp throughout with good shadow detail and no low level noise.

    The colours were vibrant and vivid. Large splashes of primary and secondary colours abounded, with many scenes a sitting duck for colour bleeding. Fortunately, this was never apparent.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. There were no film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts went unnoticed.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; the default English Dolby Digital 5.1, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and a silent English MPEG 2.0 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was usually clear and easy to understand at all times, even over scenes with high ambient noise.

    Ah yes, audio sync. I commenced watching this movie on my Pioneer DV-505, but after 30 minutes or so I just had to stop because the poor audio sync was giving me a headache and eye strain. With the 505, pretty much all of the dialogue appeared to be one or two frames behind the video, making this disc all but unwatchable.

    I then switched over to a Noriko DVD-390K, and started watching the movie again from the beginning. The audio sync problems with this disc evaporated. There were still a few ADR lines here and there which were marginally out, but these were very minor and I suspect that the average viewer would not notice these trivial errors - I was watching audio sync like a hawk throughout this entire movie.

    The musical score comprised mainly disco numbers from the period, with a number of updated versions of these numbers. Some minimal original scoring by Marco Beltrami was included as well. As would be expected given the subject matter of this movie, the music is integral to the overall feel of the movie, and the music is very well selected and integrated into the movie's on-screen action.

    The surround channels were mainly used for music with the occasional ambient sound effect finding its way into the rear speakers. The overall effect was of a moderately enveloping soundtrack.

    The subwoofer was moderately used by the soundtrack to support the music.


    A reasonable selection of extras are present. The Dolby Digital Train trailer is on this disc.


    The menu design is excellent, with a simple but effective main menu animation underscored by music which acts as an excellent entree into the movie. All the menus are 16x9 enhanced, and most have audio underscoring, all nicely selected.

Theatrical Trailer - 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

    The sound quality of this trailer is poor, and sounds like optical mono.

Music Video - If You Could Read My Mind, Stars On 54

Cast & Crew Biographies

    The crew in this case consists of a biography of Studio 54.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 4 version of this disc is the version of choice, unless you have a Pioneer DVD player in which case you should check this disc first.


    I really enjoyed 54 as a movie, though I suspect that not everyone will enjoy this movie as much as I did.

    The video quality is good and there are no problems.

    The audio quality is good as long as your player is not affected by the audio sync problem. Pioneer DVD owners, especially owners of the earlier models, should rent this disc before purchasing it to verify that the problem is not present on their player.

    The extras are acceptable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Friday, October 22, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505/Noriko DVD-390K, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

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